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Leslie McKay: Wake Up Call

Written by Staff on March 15, 2019 – 1:05 pm -

Leslie and Dennis McKay of McKay Project and M.A.C. Records

Leslie and Dennis McKay of McKay Project and M.A.C. Records

I imagine most of us are familiar with the term “wake up call.” If you are staying at a hotel, you may request a wake-up call at a certain time and a member of the staff will call your room to ensure that you wake up. Another definition of a wake-up call is something that happens to get your attention or to prompt you to change course, realize or recognize that you need to do things differently, or take stock of your life, etc.

Recently, we were staying at a hotel in Birmingham, Ala. After a long, but fun day of shopping we settled in for the night. The next morning was going to be an early one because we were heading back to Mississippi to be in church. We needed a good night’s rest. However, around 1:30 a.m. we were horrifically jarred from our sleep by the fire alarm going off in our room and the repetition of a woman’s voice telling us that a fire had been detected in the building and we needed to evacuate immediately.

We jumped up and after taking a few minutes to gain our senses, we threw on some clothes, grabbed blankets and headed out the door and down four flights of stairs. I would venture to say that very few people use the stairs in a high rise hotel or even pay attention to where the stairs come out of the hotel. When we emerged, we were in a basement parking garage and near what looked like a loading dock. We could hear the sound of fire trucks approaching. The hotel alarm was still blaring and the woman’s voice was repeating the message over and over to evacuate. We made it to the street level and saw other people like us that had dressed quickly, hair in a “hot mess”, and walking toward the front of the hotel. We followed.

You can imagine what was going through our minds…is it real or is it a prank? If it is real, what did we leave behind? If it is a prank, then I hope they catch who did this because it is not funny.

As we approached the front of the hotel, there was a group of people dressed in formal wear sitting leisurely in the front lobby. We noticed them earlier in the day. They were there to celebrate a wedding. Obviously, from their calm appearance, it was apparent that this was a false alarm and there wasn’t a fire in the building. Wow!

We entered the lobby of the hotel expecting someone to take charge and provide directions, but that didn’t happen. We expected to see firemen enter the building, but that didn’t happen either. After a few minutes, the alarm stopped and people were just standing around looking at each other wondering what to do next. When nothing happened, we went to the front desk where the clerk seemed to be doing business as usual (giving directions to the pizza delivery guy that had just arrived) and asked about returning to our rooms. “Oh yeah, there is no fire… you may go back to your rooms,” was his response. You can imagine that tempers were high. As sleepy people grumbled about the interruption, we entered the elevators and went back to our rooms to attempt to get a few hours of sleep before starting the day.

You may be wondering, “Where is she going with all of this?” or “What does this have to do with anything?”  As I returned to bed and began to try and calm my mind to go to sleep. I felt like the Spirit downloaded some info on the inside of me about that whole experience.

Everyone at some point in their life will experience a wake-up call of some kind.

You fill in the blank:
My “wake up call” happened when _________.

It can take a variety of forms. In 2018, my husband was in a restaurant when a car came through the glass wall and hit him (miraculously, he is okay). That is an example of an extreme “wake up call”. The wake-up call could be unwanted medical news, money trouble, job loss or change, a relationship going south, or any number of things. Sometimes a wake-up call is out of our control while other times we bring circumstances upon ourselves. I want to share some thoughts that I had after our recent hotel experience which I think relate to real life when it comes to a wake up call.

McKay Project

Leslie

WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN THE WAKE-UP CALL HAPPENS?

1. Go With It – Move.  We realize what is happening, we take inventory, make the necessary adjustments and we keep moving. That night in the hotel room, we assessed what was happening, got up, got dressed and got out of the building.

In Acts 9 in the Bible, Saul was faced with a wake-up call when he was blinded on the road to Damascus and heard the voice of Jesus. Previously, Saul was a major persecutor of Christians and was on his way to Damascus to kill more Christians when he encountered Jesus. At that moment, Saul was confronted with who he was and who Jesus was. He immediately became willing to do what Jesus instructed him to do. Saul continued on the road to Damascus but the purpose for his trip was dramatically altered and his life was forever changed. Saul became Paul (Acts 13). His wake-up call produced an adjustment in his life that took immediate affect and he kept moving on for Jesus instead of against Him.

2. Stay in Chaos and Confusion. The wake-up call happens and we stay in a state of chaos and confusion; constantly scrambling and trying to keep our head above water.

My daughter and I laugh at my husband. He is a very deep sleeper and when he was jarred awake by the fire alarm he had no idea what was going on. For a few minutes, he was standing up, sitting down, standing up, sitting down, and scrambling just to get awake enough to process what was happening in the hotel room.

In the Bible, Jonah is an example where his wake-up call found him in a state of chaos and confusion that he brought on himself (and others). God told Jonah to go to Nineveh and preach repentance to the people. Jonah didn’t want to go so he ran the opposite direction. He made his own plan and boarded a boat heading for Tarshish.

Jonah’s actions affected more than just himself.  While out to sea, a monstrous storm came up and the crew was terribly afraid because they thought they were going to die. They called out to their gods and even threw their cargo overboard to lighten the ship. In spite of all that chaos, Jonah went below deck and fell asleep. Either that was some serious denial or he really didn’t yet understand the gravity of his situation. Eventually, the members of the crew decided to cast lots to see who was responsible for the awful storm and it fell on Jonah. They woke him up (another wake-up call) and asked him how in the world he could sleep and who he was and what he had done. He told them he was a Hebrew who followed the Lord God of heaven who made the sea and dry land. Jonah told them he was running from God.  The storm got worse and they asked Jonah what to do. He told them to throw him overboard because it was his fault. The crew didn’t want to throw him over and tried to row in spite of the storm but it grew wilder. Reluctantly, they threw Jonah over and the sea became calm.  As if that wasn’t enough, Jonah was swallowed by a great fish. In the belly of that fish, Jonah answered his wake-up call and repented and agreed to do what God asked. He went to Nineveh and preached to the people.

Sometimes we bring the circumstances for our wake-up call upon ourselves by the choices we make and many times those choices affect other people. In the story of Jonah, the crew was affected by his choices. They probably sacrificed valuable items when they threw their cargo overboard in an effort to fix the situation. Even after the crew knew they needed to throw Jonah overboard, they put it off and tried in their own power to row back to land.

Isn’t that sometimes how it is? Our world may be in chaos and everyone around us can see what is going on and they are trying to help us, but we have yet to wake up. It wasn’t until Jonah was alone in the belly of the great fish that he surrendered and decided to obey God. The fish spit him out and this time when God told Jonah to go to Nineveh, he went.

The point is not to stay in a state of chaos and confusion but recognize that God only wants the best for us and surrender to Him.

I Corinthians 14:33 tells us that “God is not the author of confusion, but of peace…”

Philippians 4:7 reminds us that “the peace of God, which surpasses every thought will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”

3. Do Nothing.  Perhaps the wake-up call produces a fear in us that we can’t overcome and we just stop living. We are paralyzed and too afraid to do anything. We gather our resources around us and hunker down like we are waiting out a storm that never ends. Maybe we even convince ourselves it isn’t real and if we ignore it then maybe it will go away. Remember, the wake-up call should act as a catalyst in many cases to get us to move forward or do something different.

That night in the hotel lobby, no one was gripped by fear and it was obvious that most thought it wasn’t real. We figured that if we just ignored the fire alarm and warnings they would eventually stop. Even the hotel staff continued to conduct business as usual.

In Numbers 13 and 14 in the Bible, the Israelites had left Egypt and escaped from Pharaoh and reached the border of Canaan. God told Moses to send 12 spies into the land of Canaan to scout out the land. It was the land that God promised to give to the Israelites. However, when the spies returned they were so afraid of the giants living in the land that they convinced the people not to move forward. Caleb and Joshua were the only ones of the twelve that believed God’s promise that they could take the land. God was not happy with the people of Israel because of their lack of faith and their complaining. He declared that none of the people over 20 years old would enter the land that he promised with the exception of Joshua and Caleb and their descendants. They wandered another 40 years in the wilderness. Their fear and decision to do nothing resulted in the delay of receiving or moving into the land that God had promised them.

When the wake-up call happens in our lives, it can be scary but we can’t let fear grip us and rule our lives. Fear is a liar and God is not about fear.

II Timothy 1:7 reminds us that “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but one of power, love, and a sound mind.”

Psalms 27:1 tells us, “The Lord is my light and my salvation – whom should I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life – of whom should I be afraid?”

Leslie McKay

Leslie McKay

I believe wake-up calls are part of life. Some are more intense than others, but we have a choice as to how we respond. I believe God has a purpose and a plan for each of us and wants the best for us. When those wake-up calls happen in life, I want to challenge you to ask yourself, “What can I learn?” Then…get up, dust yourself off and keep moving forward. Your best days are ahead of you!

By Leslie McKay

Leslie McKay is a writer for SGNScoops Magazine and is also a member of McKay Project with her husband, Dennis. Together they are McKay Project and own M.A.C. Records. Find out more about Leslie McKay here.

 

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Jessica Horton: Do you believe in Amazing Grace?

Written by Staff on March 11, 2019 – 3:09 pm -

Jessica Horton

Jessica Horton

Amazing Grace: “How precious did that grace appear the hour I first believed.” 

Grace. As a small-town Southern girl, I was raised hearing that word around every corner. Down my high school halls I could hear, “Well, we need a ‘hail Mary’ in math, but he’ll graduate by the grace of God.” In the office at work I might hear, “We’re burning at both ends but by the grace of God we’ll make the deadline.” At home I heard more than once, “We’ll make the bills in time…by the grace of God.”

When you think about it, we might as well just say, “by the skin of our teeth” because the phrase is so common and inadequate. Don’t get me wrong – God is most definitely working and applying grace to every aspect of our lives! He fills in our shortcomings more times than we will ever know. But we cannot forget how precious His gift truly is.

When I met Jesus, and I accepted Him into my heart, the “old” man was washed away, and the “new” man was born. My sins, great and small, were forgiven in an instant.

God didn’t think about it. He didn’t weigh the pros and cons. He didn’t look at my past and have critical comments about my ability to make better choices in the future. He took the payment, made by Jesus, and marked my transgressions “PAID IN FULL.” As the old song says, He “overlooked my fault and saw my need.” How precious!

So, what will we do with this new heart full of gratitude? Extend this grace to others. I will never forget what God has done for me and what He continues to do in me every day. We are all sinners in need of God’s constant grace. Therefore, what is so freely given to us, may we give to others as a testament of God’s “Amazing Grace.”

Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you for the precious gift of Your grace. Make us more aware of Your presence and the way You move in our lives every day. Give us hearts that love Your people the way the You love them. Amen.

Scriptures:
2 Corinthians 5:17
Romans 3:23-24
Ephesians 2:8-9
Romans 6:14
1 Peter 4:10

By Jessica Horton

Jessica HortonSGNScoops welcomes talented gospel music artist Jessica Horton to our team of writers. We hope you have enjoyed her first article and will encourage her to write more by visiting her facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/jhorton51110 or her website at https://jessicahortonmusic.com/

Jessica Horton is a singer/songwriter from Columbus, MS. She was raised in classic country and gospel, and the soul and sound of these classics often find their way into her music. Her songs feature the acoustic guitar, dobro, mandolin, and other roots instruments. On stage, Jessica brings a live aspect to her show by playing guitar and including singable old-time hymns and gospel songs. Off- stage, Jessica spends a lot of time with her husband, David and her church family. She serves as worship leader and youth director at Shaeffer’s Chapel United Methodist Church in Columbus, MS… (for more click here.)

(bio from https://jessicahortonmusic.com/bio March 1, 3:55pm)

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Christian Country Expo returns to Cookeville, Tennessee 

Written by Staff on February 27, 2019 – 10:13 am -

CCX '19 will feature Jessica Horton and Tonja Rose teaching songwriting

CCX ’19 will feature Jessica Horton and Tonja Rose teaching songwriting

Musical weekend features songwriting  showcase

Cookeville, Tenn.  — Coastal Media is pleased to present Christian Country Expo ’19 in Cookeville, Tenn., June 20 – 22, 2019. Welcoming over 30 Christian Country artists and hundreds of fans, Christian Country Expo is three days and nights of music, shopping and family fun, held at the Quality Inn Convention Center, 970 S. Jefferson Ave.
CCX ’19 will feature fan favorite artists such as Tonja Rose and Jessica Horton during daytime and evening concerts, along with a large exhibit hall filled with artist booths. A new addition is a songwriting course for aspiring artists.
“I’m so excited to be a part of this wonderful event,” says Rose. “I’m totally pumped about having the opportunity to work alongside of Jessica Horton, mentoring and writing with some of Tennessee’s young songwriters. It’s gonna be a blast!”
Horton agrees. “I am so excited to be a part of the Christian Country Expo this year. I am especially excited about the new songwriting workshop that Tonja Rose and I are crafting for the kids in the community.
“Music is one of the best ways to understand ourselves, our faith, and the world around us,” continues Horton. “Songs tell our stories, and each generation tells its own tale. This workshop is designed to teach the students about the songwriting process, guide them through crafting a song of their own and empowering the songwriters of the future!”
CCX '19 in Cookeville, Tenn.Rob Patz, CEO of Coastal Media, says he is thrilled to return this year to Cookeville, as the community was so welcoming last year.
“Christian Country Expo is about more than just music,” says Patz. “It’s about community, family, and faith. It’s about bringing people together to embrace our freedom to worship and fellowship as we please. It’s about enriching the young members of the community with music and knowledge. I’m excited Cookeville is open to CCX ’19. I can’t wait!”
For more information on CCX, or to set up interviews with CEO of Coastal Media, Rob Patz, organizer of CCX, phone 360-933-0741.

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The Top 40 SGN Scoops Christian Country – December

Written by scoopsnews on November 29, 2018 – 4:14 am -

 

SGNScoops Christian Country Top 40

SGNScoops Christian Country Top 40

1. Wonderful- Lisa Daggs
2. There’s No Place Too Far From Grace- Tina Wakefield
3. Send The Rain- Kolt Barber
4. Daddy I’m Home- Gene Reasoner
5. He’s All I Need- Steve Warren
6. If The Bottle Was A Bible- Johnny Rowlett
7. Lord You Are Love- Sonshine Road
8. I’ll Take It From Here- Bruce Hedrick
9. Living Proof- Wyatt Nations
10. I Know The End Of The Story- John Penney
11. See You There- Freddie Hart
12. Coming On Strong- Cami Shrock
13. Country As Cornbread- Shellem Cline
14. Don’t Let The Devil Ride- Doug Corum
15. You Can Always Come Home- Steve Bridgmon/Allie Colleen
16. Call On Jesus – Ronnie Horton
17. Love You Like Mary- McKay Project
18. Always Better- Kevin and Kim Abney
19. When Grandma Prayed- Appointed 2
20. It’s Written In The Scars- Dan Duncan
21. Family Ties- Barbara Fairchild
22. I Got Saved- Michael Knight
23. I Miss Them All- Jordan Family Band
24. Take Her Name Off The Prayer List-Mark Lanier
25. Hide Me Behind The Cross- Tonja Rose
26. Oh, My God- Jami Lynn Flanakin
27. Take My Hand- Gunner Carr
28. Cinderella- Trinity Wennerstrom
29. Sunday Morning Meeting- Paul Winchester
30. The Songs Will Never End- The Tiptons
31. Sweet Whispers- Amy Richardson
32. Just Because I Asked You-Gena Hamilton
33. Remember the Soldier- David Gresham
34. Hey Brother DJ- Jimmy R Price
35. The Old Man Is Dead- James Payne
36. Drinking New Wine- Michael Lee/ Daryle Singletary
37. No One Compares to You Lord- Mary Fay Jackson
38. It’s Gonna Be a Good Day- Christian Davis
39. Lord You Have- Jan Harbuck
40. Number One Fan- Hunter May

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Gaither Vocal Band and Bradley Walker Celebrate 2018 GMA DOVE Award Wins

Written by Staff on October 19, 2018 – 4:12 pm -

Gaither Vocal Band and Bradley Walker Celebrate 2018 GMA DOVE Award Wins

Gaither Vocal Band. Photo by Craig Harris

Gospel Music Hall of Famers the Gaither Vocal Band and Rising Country Music Singer Bradley Walker Enjoy a Rewarding Evening at This Year’s DOVE Awards

NASHVILLE, Tenn.—October 18th, 2018—GRAMMY®-winning recording artists and Gospel Music Hall of Fame members the Gaither Vocal Band were awarded Southern Gospel Artist of the Year honors last night at this year’s GMA DOVE Award ceremonies, held at Lipscomb University in Nashville, TN.

“The great thing that we get to do is travel as a band of brothers,” stated group member Reggie Smith during his acceptance speech, “these guys are like family, and we get to travel with the oldest ‘teenager’ on the planet–Bill Gaither! We are grateful for this award and for what we get to do.”

Gaither Vocal Band and Bradley Walker Celebrate 2018 GMA DOVE Award Wins

Bradley Walker

The quintet, which headlines one of Christian music’s biggest tours annually, also received nods for Southern Gospel Recorded Song of the Year for “Hallelujah Band”; Southern Gospel Album of the Year for We Have This Moment (Gaither Music Group); Bluegrass/Country/Roots Song of the Year for “Chain Breaker”; Long Form Video of the Year for Country Roots and Gospel Favorites, featuring Gaither Vocal Band, The Gatlin Brothers and The Oak Ridge Boys; and Christmas/Special Event Album of the Year for Country Roots and Gospel Favorites (Live).

Label-mate and rising country gospel singer Bradley Walker took home his first GMA DOVE Award for best Bluegrass/Country/Roots Album of the Year (Gaither Music Group) for Blessed, Hymns and Songs of Faith, produced by Ben Isaacs (The Oak Ridge Boys, Jimmy Fortune).

“Growing up singing these songs in church, you don’t think you are going to receive an award one day,” said a surprised and elated Walker. “It’s just hard to believe. I want to thank Bill Gaither for giving me the opportunity to record this album, and I want to dedicate this award to Joey Feek. Without her love and support and were it not for my getting to sing at her home-going, this would never have happened. I am, as the album title says, ‘blessed.’”

A well-loved performer for years among classic country and bluegrass music circles, Walker was also nominated for Southern Gospel Artist of the Year and for Bluegrass/Country/Roots Song of the Year for “I Will Someday” (featuring The Isaacs), written by Chris Stapleton, Garnet Bowman, Morgane Hayes and Ronnie Bowman.

Gaither Vocal Band and Bradley Walker Celebrate 2018 GMA DOVE Award Wins

Gaither Vocal Band. Photo by Craig Harris

“We were delighted to see a legendary group like the Gaither Vocal Band honored last evening while also seeing a rising newcomer win his first award,” stated Paul Sizelove, president of Gaither Music Group. “Our roster of artists encompasses a broad array of talent, including performers who are household names among their formats as well as newcomers like Bradley Walker. We are proud to represent these artists and pleased to see these performers achieve these recognitions at this year’s awards.”

The Gaither Music Group artists are seen regularly on over 15 TV networks that carry the “Gaither Gospel Hour” weekly including PBS, TBN, RFD-TV, CTN, DIRECTV, The Heartland Network, Dish TV, FamilyNet, GMTN, Guardian, Liberty, TCT, TLN and GaitherTV. The programming is seen in Canada on Vision TV, The Miracle Channel, Grace TV and CTS.

Gaither Music Group’s recordings are exclusively distributed by Capitol Christian Distribution and Universal Music and are available throughout general market stores and the Christian marketplace in addition to online retailers including iTunes, Amazon and Gaither.com.

October 2018 SGNScoops Magazine

October 2018 SGNScoops Magazine

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Congrats to the SGN SCOOPS TOP 40 Christian Country Songs

Written by scoopsnews on May 20, 2018 – 1:58 pm -

May/June 2018

1. Chuck Hancock- One Pair Of Hands

2. Kolt Barber- Another Day

3. Trinity Wennerstrom- Shine Big, Shine Bright

4. Christian Davis- Every Scar

5. Tina Wakefield- Over and Over

6. Brent Harrison- This Side Of Sunday

7. James Payne and Bruce Haynes-Dancing In The Rain

8. Michael Lee- Ain’t That Just like Jesus

9. John Penney-In God’s Hands

10. Wade Phillips- Make Me More Like Jesus

11. McKay Project- Taking Me Home

12. Bruce Hedrick- Wingin It

13. Jamie Lynn Flanakin- Free

14. Terry Davis- Braggin On Jesus

15. BloodBought- Gospel Plow

16. Tonja Rose- When The Mountain Can’t Be Moved

17. Mike Leichner- Don’t Bring The Country Out In Me

18. Heather Van Derren- Come To The Table

19. Debbie Bennett- The Blood He Applies

20. The Reed Brothers- Holding On

21. Steve Warren- Forever Kind Of Love

22. Carol Barham- I Can’t Praise Him Enough

23. Caleb Howard- Live Like That

24. Kevin and Kim Abney- Broken Bread

25. Jonathan Dale- This Is Your Now

26. The Kendricks- I Could be Leaving Right Now

27. Charlie Griffin- Rise and Shine

28. Tommy Smith- Let’s March On

29. Kali Rose- What’s A Valley

30. Gil Magee- Climb The Sycamore Tree

31. Buddy Jewel- I’m There

32. Kevin Rowe- Heaven Above

33. Shellem Cline- This Thing Called Life

34. Mike Manual- The Country Side Of The Cross

35. Kolt Barber- Send The Rain

36. Bev McCann- Dash Between The Dates

37. Debbie Seagraves- I Still Believe In Amazing Grace

38. Gunner Carr- Take My Hand

39. Ava Kasich- Speak The Word

40. Tony Alan Bates- Numbered

 


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Christian Country Expo Kickin Up Dust On The Web

Written by SGN Scoops Staff on February 17, 2018 – 10:44 am -

Christian Country Expo Kickin Up Dust On The Web

Christian Country Expo Kickin Up Dust On The Web

Christian Country Expo has been making noise in the industry. Announcing recently that JB Rocket of CMTs Can You Duet will headline the event, alongside Michael Lee who landed at #1 on the CC TOP 40 this month, anticipation continues to build. Scheduled to perform also is Bruce Hedrick, McKay Project, Wade Phillips, Jami Flanakin and many more.

Launching today is the brand new CCX’s website www.christiancountryexpo.com designed by HåUS OF jAYDALE, the hype is high.

This website feeatures the TOP 40 CC Music Chart, Artist Spotlights, Artist Blogs, and more. Continue to keep visiting the CCX webpage for more updates and info about the event.

Christian Country Expo is a full three day course occurrence built and hosted for the artists and the fans. Network among the industry leaders and the best artists in the business. Experience seminars and Pro level classes taught by the business greats, in the fields of: radio, social media, stage performance, vocal coaching and more.

With the purpose of honoring and hosting an event for those in our industry who have made a great impact with their music, Christian Country EXPO is changing the game of Christian Country Music. Make plans to join us now, space is limited. CONTACT US TODAY and visit our new home on the web! www.christiancountryexpo.com

Artist Call Today For Booth Space 360 933 0741 or 256 310 7892


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The Akins: Singing To The Heart

Written by Staff on October 11, 2017 – 11:12 am -

The Akins

The Akins

David Akin, a man called of God, is a preacher, musician, singer and father of three boys. His journey started 30 years ago when God called his name while he was leading praise and worship from a piano at his home church, Harp’s Crossing Baptist in Fayetteville, Ga.. For a few years, he worked with preaching evangelists, leading choirs and singing special music. When his boys became three, five and seven, God laid it on his heart to go out on his own and form a family ministry. The Akins immediately started singing, never had any stage fright, and never looked back.

Some years earlier, David had been with a friend who had lost his dad, a well-known evangelist that had traveled worldwide. That night, as he watched the tears run down his friend’s face, he felt compelled to go to his room, where he fell on his knees and asked God not to let him be the one who travels the world and doesn’t get to spend time with his children.

 

“I believed that I could win the whole world to Jesus, but if I didn’t have time for my own, I would have messed up on the most important thing that God put me here to do,” David says. “That night, I know that God heard a brokenhearted dad’s prayer. My boys began to show interest in singing and playing musical instruments and began to flourish at an amazing rate. Only God could have done what was done in our family, and I give Him all the glory.”

 

The AkinsIn 1990, the Akins sang their first song in public. David performed with his sons – Davey, who played bass, Nick and Eli. After 19 years, God called Davey and led him to leave the ministry and go to New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.

 

“I always want my kids to be exactly where God wants them to be,” David says. “Davey was feeling that God wanted him to work with men hooked on pornography and (warn) young men the dangers of pornography. We don’t feel like we lost a bass player but that we gained another minister going out from our family.”

The AkinsThe Akins’ ministry continues with David, Nick and Eli, singing and playing many instruments, leading revivals and concerts. Eli and his wife write almost all of the original songs that the group records. Their latest recording, “Eyes on the Road,” includes 10 songs written by this talented couple. It is scheduled to be released on Aug. 27 at the Akins Harps Homecoming at Harp’s Crossing Baptist Church in Fayetteville.

 

David confesses that with all of the concerts the group is doing, there is always an embarrassing moment on stage. At one concert, he realized in the middle of their first song that his fly was open. He couldn’t even turn around because the choir was behind backing them up. He finally found the perfect opportunity to accidently-on-purpose drop his mic so that he could quickly close his zipper.

“I don’t think that it was successful, people noticed anyway,” he admits.

If God hadn’t led them into the ministry what would they be doing?

“Who knows … I am a do-it-yourselfer,” David shares. “I love taking on a project, doing research and completing it. I’m sure there would have been plenty of things that I might have tried if God had not chosen me for this.”

Nick would probably record other people in their recording studio. God has really blessed him with an amazing ability to hear things in the mix-downs that no one else can hear. He would continue writing songs also.

The AkinsEli is a jack of all trades. He not only plays almost every instrument that he picks up, but he has built several guitars that he plays on stage and is an amazing photographer. He also would like to have his own restaurant some day as he loves cooking and smoking meat.

David is currently writing a book entitled “You’ve Brought Us This Far.” It is about his life and family and all the miracles that God has performed over the years to bring them to this point. He hopes to finish it someday. Nick records young artists from time to time, and Eli and his wife Whitney shoot photos and videos for realtors in Atlanta to assist with home sales.

Being Bill Gaither fans, they would like to sing on a Gaither video and share a meal with him. Dave said he would want his kids and the world to be able to say that David Akin was the same off stage as he was on stage, like their song, “My Stage Was an Altar.”

The Akins“I recently had the opportunity to share a conference with the Akins,” Dr. Jerry Vines says. “My, what a blessing this talented father and young men are. They play many instruments and sing beautifully. But, most important, they sing to the heart. We are in great need of musicians who are not only musically superior, but (who are) also spiritually sensitive. The Akins are both. If you ever have the opportunity, please hear them and use them in your meetings.”

Photographs courtesy of the Akins and Robert York.

By Robert York

The AkinsFirst published by SGNScoops Magazine in August 2017

 

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Kevin Mills: Changes, Bees and Serving God

Written by Staff on October 10, 2017 – 12:12 pm -

Kevin Mills: Changes, Bees and Serving God

Kevin Mills: Changes, Bees and Serving God

I first met up with Kevin Mills online when I was researching Canadian Gospel Music artists. At that time, the Gospel Music Association of Canada had nominated his debut self-titled album for Southern Gospel Album of the Year 2006. Since that time, Mills relocated to the United States, married his sweetheart Amanda and ended up on Virginia Beach during Hurricane Sandy.

The Mills have weathered many storms, both weather-related and personally, and now make their home in Rochester, Washington. They are owners of Mills Diner, Hive 5 Bees, and Kevin has just released his current album, “God, Family & Country,” with Song Garden Music Group. This busy vocalist took a moment to help me catch up with his busy world.

Kaleb Powell did a full review of Mills’ new album which can be found in the October 2017 SGNScoops Magazine here. Mills says he is pleased with his solo project. “It has better flow and focus in its musical style,” says Mills. “We really focused on songs that told stories and also represented spirituality in a very non-threatening way. It was great working with Gus Gaches and Song Garden Music Group again – it’s because of them that the project was possible and ended up so excellent.”

Kevin Mills is originally from Canada

Kevin Mills is originally from Canada

Mills loves all the songs on this country-flavored, smooth-as-honey album. However, one song, in particular, stands out. “‘In God We Still Trust’ seems to be very timely for our country. I’m seeing a spiritual longing within our nation that is very encouraging,” says Mills.

This new album represents a change for this vocalist. Many readers may remember Mills from Keepers of the Faith quartet, out of Puyallup, Wash. when he filled their bass position for several years. That tenure also included an appearance on the NQC stage in 2014. However, Mills is now performing as a solo artist. “I spent almost three wonderful years with Keepers of the Faith Quartet and retired from them in January of this year,” explains Mills. “They provided me with a great opportunity to grow professionally and vocally and I’m very grateful for the time we worked together.”

Kevin Mills with Keepers of the Faith quartet

Kevin Mills with Keepers of the Faith quartet

Retirement from a busy quartet’s traveling schedule does not mean a slower timetable for Mills. The singer with a voice like honey has recently returned to a former love: Beekeeping. “I love my bees,” says Mills. “I’m going on almost 18 years of beekeeping. I began at age 13 and ended up being mentored by some of the largest commercial beekeepers in Canada. It’s a fascinating industry and one that’s crucial to the majority of our food supply. Levi from Keepers of the Faith actually got me back into it last year. The demand for bees on the west coast blew me away and I struggled to keep up. This year was the same, consequently, it’s ended up being an accidental business but one that I’m rather familiar with from prior experience – plus it keeps me sweet.”

Kevin MillsA huge part of what keeps Mills sweet is his wife Amanda and their daughters, Brooklyn and Meagan. Another large part of their lives is Mills Diner – The Local Breakfast and Lunch Place. It may seem strange that a singer would transition into a diner owner, but Kevin says that is not so. “ My wife introduced me to the food/hospitality industry when we first met (she owned a restaurant). I quickly fell in love with the people and the industry. Providentially we were provided with the opportunity to assume ownership of an existing restaurant. We are very blessed with the community and the staff that make Mills Diner what it is. Amanda (my wife) handles the day-to-day operations whereas my strengths lay more in strategic planning and HR management.” Mills concludes,” The hospitality industry is a great place to naturally present and represent God’s love and service to others.”

Kevin Mills and wife Amanda, daughters Brooklyn and Meagan

Kevin Mills and wife Amanda, daughters Brooklyn and Meagan

The Mills’ home seems to be a busy place with so much going on. Mills isn’t quite sure how he keeps all of the juggling balls aloft. “Can I get back to you when I figure it out?” Mills continues, “Seriously though it’s amazing how much you can do in a day when you set out with a daily plan/list and quickly execute from the highest priority items to the lowest. I still battle procrastination and if it wins I quickly become overwhelmed.”

“Amanda’s and (my) drive for business comes from a belief that business is a gift God gives us to help shape and influence people, society and ourselves,” Mills explains.

Although change appears to be the operative word in Mills’ life, he admits it hasn’t always been easy to adapt to the new normal. “It’s been a very interesting time spiritually – even though I feel closer and more real in my relationship with God then ever before – it’s been a very difficult transition. Even though I grasped intellectually the importance of placing my music career and passion in His hands – I really struggled with Him pulling me out of full-time music,” he admits.

Kevin Mills' diner“However, it’s very clear that this was the direction that He wanted both Amanda and I to go in and even though we still do not have total clarity of the ‘why’ – we certainly get glimpses of what He’s doing in us individually, as a couple, and in our customers/patrons through our different businesses,”says Mills.

Even mature Christians struggle with sometimes knowing the will of God during change. “I did struggle (and sometimes still do) with whether we’ve made the right decisions but upon reflection, it always circles to this is exactly where God wants us.

“As most everyone knows – life is tough – but as Zig Ziglar used to say, ‘If we’re tough on ourselves, life is going to be infinitely easier on us.’(Paraphrase.) I find my continued studies in Judaism and Christian theology along with reading authors such as Zig Ziglar, John Maxwell, Norman Vincent Peale and others – helps keep my mind (and body) in a good place. Discipline mentally, physically and spiritually is what it all comes down to.

Kevin Mills Diner“I definitely do not have this figured out but I’m having an awesome time learning and I continue to be amazed with how God walks right alongside us.”

Kevin Mills has experienced a lot and at the same time has learned so much about God and life. You can hear this in his voice and see it in his zest for life. Be sure to visit his Facebook page and the Mills Diner page. If you are in his area, drop by, have a sandwich and meet the Mills. Be sure to ask Kevin to sing you a song and ask him about his life of change. He might just show you his bees.

By Lorraine Walker

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Kevin Mills' bees

Kevin Mills’ bees


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Award-winning Country Music Singer Bradley Walker Checks Item Off Bucket List with All-new Recording

Written by Staff on September 14, 2017 – 6:20 am -

Award-winning Country Music Singer Bradley Walker Checks Item Off Bucket List with All-new Recording

Award-winning Country Music Singer Bradley Walker Checks Item Off Bucket List
with All-new Recording

2017 GMA DOVE Award Nominee Blessed with New Gospel CD and DVD

Walker Joined by Many of His Musical Heroes on Upcoming Studio Recording that Follows His Chart-topping Gospel Music Debut

NASHVILLE, Tenn.—September 12th, 2017– Country singer and GMA DOVE Award nominee Bradley Walker has just completed an all-new, studio recording and LIVE concert DVD of gospel songs and hymns that will be released on October 6th. Produced by Ben Isaacs (The Oak Ridge Boys, The Isaacs), Blessed, Hymns and Songs of Faith (Gaither Music Group) captures many of the songs that inspired Walker to become a singer.

“As a singer, I’d have to say an album like this has always been on my ‘bucket list,’” described Walker. “I have always hoped I would have the chance to make a record full of classic gospel songs that I’ve grown up on, with some new ones thrown in, and make it a good representation of who I am musically. I believe we’ve done that.”

That accomplishment not only finds the Alabama native fulfilling a lifelong dream but doing so alongside some of his musical influences and heroes.

“Ben [Isaacs] and I wanted to capture the combination of country, bluegrass, and gospel that we both love so much; and I’m so thrilled for folks to hear how it came together,” stated Walker. “We also asked several of my favorite singers on the planet to be on this album with me. These are folks who I’ve listened to and admired for many years and who I’m proud to say have all become friends.”

That group of friends includes the legendary Vince Gill, who joined Walker for “Drifting Too Far from the Shore,” a classic previously performed by Hank Williams, Sr. and Emmylou Harris among others. Award-winning songstress Alison Krauss lent her vocals to Walker’s rendition of “Angel Band,” and bluegrass star Rhonda Vincent added her talent to the gospel classic “One Day at a Time.” Country and Gospel Music Hall of Famers Jimmy Fortune and The Oak Ridge Boys performed on the new recording in addition to the GRAMMY®-nominated Isaacs and 15-time GRAMMY® Award winner Ricky Skaggs.

The LIVE concert DVD recording, filmed in Alexandria, Indiana, features an all-star cast of musicians including Isaacs and soloist Charlotte Ritchie. Hosted by Gaither Music Group’s founder Bill Gaither, the DVD spotlights Walker’s heart for this style of music and his dream to record this collection of songs.

“My country music heroes made some of the best gospel records of all-time, in my opinion,” said Walker. “…folks like Vern Gosdin, Conway Twitty and so many more. People have told me for years, ‘You need to make a gospel album!’ Well, here it is, and I hope it is something that will be a blessing to folks for a long time. This is all another dream come true, and I feel so honored…so fortunate…and so incredibly BLESSED!”

The Blessed, Hymns and Songs of Faith CD and DVD recordings will be airing this fall as part of a TV special on networks including TBN, RFD-TV, PBS, The Heartland Network, FamilyNet, CTN, GMC, GMTN, Guardian, Liberty, TCT, TLN and Gaither TV (available on Roku, Google and the Internet). It will be airing in Canada on Vision TV, CTS, The Miracle Channel and Hope TV.

Bradley Walker, Blessed, Hymns and Songs of Faith DVD cover art

Bradley Walker, Blessed, Hymns and Songs of Faith DVD cover art

Known for his unequivocal baritone voice and inspiring story, this International Bluegrass Male Vocalist of the Year Award winner received his first three GMA DOVE nominations this year surrounding his release Call Me Old-Fashioned (Gaither Music Group/Farmhouse Recordings), produced by longtime friend, singer and songwriter Rory Feek (Joey+Rory). A well-loved performer for years among country and bluegrass music circles, Walker garnered nods for Bluegrass/Country/Roots Album of the Year, Bluegrass/Country/Roots Recorded Song of the Year and Southern Gospel Song of the Year.

That debut recording landed at #9 on the Country Albums chart, #4 on the Contemporary Christian Albums chart and at #1 on the Bluegrass Albums chart in 2016. The companion DVD, hosted by Rory Feek (Joey+Rory), topped the Christian Music Video chart and landed at #1 on the Billboard Top Music Video chart.

Blessed, Hymns and Songs of Faith is exclusively distributed by Capitol Christian Distribution and Universal Music and is available throughout general market stores and the Christian marketplace in addition to online retailers including iTunes, Amazon and www.gaither.com. The recording will also be available this fall at Cracker Barrel Old Country Store®.

For a preview of the DVD visit: https://youtu.be/vhGjoFRM9aY.
To pre-buy the CD and DVD visit: Amazon: http://capcmg.me/BW.BlessedDVD.AM, iTunes: http://capcmg.me/BW.Blessed.iT or the Gaither Store: http://capcmg.me/BW.Blessed
To enjoy a Facebook Live Event with Bradley on September 13th visit: http://capcmg.me/BW.BlessedFBLive
To join Bradley’s Facebook Fan Group visit: http://capcmg.me/BW.FriendsandFans
For further information regarding Bradley visit www.bradleywalker.com or follow him at https://www.facebook.com/bradleywalkermusic/

Blessed CD and DVD Song Listing:
1. AMAZING GRACE
2. FAMILY BIBLE (with The Oak Ridge Boys)
3. ANGEL BAND (with Alison Krauss)
4. I WILL SOMEDAY (with The Isaacs)
5. DRIFTING TOO FAR FROM THE SHORE (with Vince Gill)
6. I’LL FLY AWAY
7. CAST THE FIRST STONE
8. THE OLD RUGGED CROSS (with Jimmy Fortune)
9. BECAUSE HE LIVES (with Charlotte Ritchie and Ben Isaacs)
10. SAY SOMETHING
11. VICTORY IN JESUS
12. ONE DAY AT A TIME (with Rhonda Vincent)
13. WHO WILL SING FOR ME (with Ricky Skaggs)

Bradley Walker Photo by: Russ Harrington

Bradley Walker
Photo by: Russ Harrington

ABOUT BRADLEY WALKER
Country singer Bradley Walker is a storyteller. His unmistakable, baritone vocals are refreshing yet warmly familiar as are his songs about life, love, family and his Christian faith. In 2016, the IBMA Male Vocalist of the Year honoree partnered with longtime friend/songwriter Rory Feek to record a debut gospel music collection that captured his earnest style—one influenced by Haggard, Whitley, Jones, Gosdin, Milsap and others. Garnering three 2017 GMA DOVE Award nominations, those songs and his inspiring story have impacted countless people through his TV special, airing on over 15 networks.
In 2017, Walker went into the studio with longtime friend Ben Isaacs to record a traditional hymns recording that showcases his authenticity and finds him joining voices with many of his musical heroes. Whether singing on a Gaither HOMECOMING stage, “The Grand Ole Opry” or the “Ernest Tubb Midnite Jamboree,” this “best-kept secret in country music” continues to put a fresh spin on a timeless style with his unique, faith-infused brand of country music.

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